A high school soccer team in California has come under fire after allegations that new players were sexually assaulted with a javelin-like poles during out-of-control hazing rituals, authorities say.
Four students of La Puente High School in Southern California have been arrested on hazing allegations and the soccer coach placed on paid administrative leave after the allegations emerged, according to the Los Angeles Times. Accusers claim the coach not only knew about the abuse but he also encouraged it, according to KTTV-My Fox Los Angeles.
I never thought something so awful could happen here.
- Mother of one of the victims
Three of the alleged victims have hired an attorney and are planning to sue the school district. Another victim may join the suit. Two of them claim they were sodomized inside the soccer storage room as part of a hazing ritual after making the varsity team. A third victim says he was able to fend off the attackers.
"A lawsuit is the only way to get any leverage over the school district and to force it change its ways," said attorney Brian Claypool, who also represents dozens of parents in the Miramonte Elementary School case, where a teacher is accused of molesting students.
Claypool claimed two 14-year-old boys were “jumped” and then penetrated with a “javelin-like object” while a third, 15, “fought for his life” and managed to grab the pole away from his attackers, the LA Times said. The alleged abuse happened last year. At least one student sought medical attention for his injuries, the newspaper said.
Parents have begun protesting at the school after learning about the allegations. This week, holding placards in Spanish, the parents chanted “We Want Justice!” as the attorney outlined the allegations to reporters.
A mother of one of the victims told the newspaper she is considering pulling her son from the school because she feared retaliation.
“I never thought something so awful could happen here,” she told the paper.
The superintendent of the Hacienda La Puente United School District, Barbara Nakaoka. said parents were quickly notified of the allegations by mail and through a phone call.
“This,” she said, “is deeply disturbing to me and the entire community.”